EXCLUSIVE: Disney+ Hotstar is going behind the curtains of Bollywood.
The Indian streamer’s latest scripted series, Showtime, will delve behind the color, power struggles and ambition of Bollywood and those who work in the biz.
The drama comes from screenwriter Sumit Roy and Karan Johar‘s Dharmatic Entertainment. Emraan Hashmi, Mahima Makwana, Mouni Roy and Naseeruddin Shah are starring, with Rajeev Khandelwal, Shriya Saran also booked in “pivotal” roles. Mihir Desai is the showrunner, and he will direct alongside Archit Kumar.
Bollywood Wives and Call Me Bae maker Dharmatic is producing, marking the first time the Mumbai-based production house and Disney+ Hotstar have worked together on an original scripted series. The pair already collaborates on popular Indian chat show Koffee with Karan, which stars Dharmatic founder Johar and has run to seven seasons.
Showtime is billed as “an epic saga of legacy and ambition in the world of cinema,” and provide a “sneak peek into what goes behind the multi-million dollar industry of Bollywood, nepotism and the power struggles at the top.”
The series is set to launch on the streamer next year. You can see a first-look trailer here.
“Collaborating with Dharmatic Entertainment has always been a great experience and the success of Koffee with Karan stands as a testament to that,” said Gaurav Banerjee, Head — Content, Disney+ Hotstar & HSM Entertainment Network, Disney Star.
“The next story we wanted to tell was about Bollywood and the trade secrets, so who better than Karan Johar who has been the heart of the industry and also the center of conversations around nepotism. We hope Showtime will bring a new flavor to the world of Bollywood that fans will enjoy.”
Karan Johar, Founder and Managing Director, Dharmatic Entertainment added: “Showtime is a series that is very close to my heart, it gives a closer look into the power struggles of the showbiz. The show will ensure that battle lines are drawn and crossed and keeps the camera rolling with the audiences clapping.
“To tell a story so strong and powerful there could not have been a better partner than Disney+ Hotstar. We are extremely excited and eager to bring forth this one for the audience and hope they enjoy the series.”
Apoorva Mehta, CEO of Dharma Productions & Dharmatic said the series would “delve into the world of Bollywood, production houses and how they function,” adding: “Tangled in power struggles, the series will definitely entertain the audiences.”
Lead actor Hashmi said he had seen “both the good and the bad side” of Bollywood.
“We have always seen the audience longing to know more about what goes on behind the closed doors of Bollywood and let me just say, we have heard you all,” he added. “Get ready to dive deep into the tales of Bollywood”
Disney+ Hotstar offers more than 100,000 hours of TV shows and movies in 10 languages and coverage of major global sporting events. Rumours its parent, Disney India, will be sold to Reliance before the end of the year have been hotting up over recent weeks.
Should the $10B deal go ahead, the combined operation will include Disney’s and Viacom18’s TV channels and the Disney+ Hotstar and JioCinema streamers. This would give it a monopoly on the ultra-valuable Indian Premier League cricket rights, as Disney took linear broadcast rights and Viacom18 the streaming rights in last year’s auction.